Griffey headlines Reds Hall of Fame inductees
Oester, Parker and Beckley round out 'homegrown group' for Class of 2014
CINCINNATI -- Much of the 2014 class of the Reds Hall of Fame are not only tied together for their contributions as players for the franchise, they have deep ties to the city of Cincinnati.
Ken Griffey Jr., Ron Oester, Dave Parker and 19th-century player Jake Beckley were named as the hall's newest members. Griffey, Oester and Parker were all born and/or grew up in Cincinnati.
"It's a homegrown group," Parker said. "That's great for the city, great for the high school system. We all came from the Cincinnati school system."
"It's special that three Cincinnatians got in. That makes it even more special," Oester said.
Griffey Jr. was the top vote-getter selected by fans, alumni and media through the modern player ballot. Parker, Oester and Beckley were selected by the Veterans Committee, comprised of Reds Hall of Fame members and executives, baseball historians and members of the media.
On Feb. 10, 2000, Griffey returned to his hometown after the Reds acquired the Moeller High School star in a trade with the Mariners. In his first season, he hit 40 home runs with 118 RBIs and was voted on to the National League All-Star team.
Although injuries hampered his career over many of his years in Cincinnati from 2000-08, Griffey batted .270 with 210 home runs and 602 RBIs. His 630 homers over a 22-year Major League career are sixth-most all time.
On the Reds, Griffey is seventh all-time in homers, sixth with an .876 on-base-plus slugging percentage and fourth with a .514 slugging percentage. Griffey and his father, Ken Griffey Sr., will be the only father-son duo to be in the Reds Hall of Fame.
This is the latest honor for Griffey's storied career. He was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame this past summer. He is expected to be a shoo-in for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible for the first time in 2016.
A 1974 graduate of Withrow High School, Oester spent his entire 13-year big league career with the Reds from 1978-90. He was a member of the Reds' 1990 World Series title team that swept the A's.
"I don't have words to describe it. 'Unbelievable' doesn't do it justice. I'm speechless," Oester said of his election. "I'm just glad I played for the Cincinnati Reds. I never thought about anything like this."
Oester, who was a Reds coach for six seasons after his playing career ended, was a .265 career hitter. He was Major League Baseball's Hutch Award in 1988.
The first major free-agent signing by the franchise in December 1983, Parker played four seasons for the Reds from 1984-87 and was a two-time NL All-Star.
Parker, who graduated from Courter Tech High School in 1970, was the team's Most Valuable Player Award winner from 1984-86 and won two Silver Slugger Awards. In 1985, Parker batted .312 with a league-leading 125 RBIs and was second in the league with 34 home runs, 198 hits and a .551 slugging percentage.
"It's the greatest honor that's been bestowed upon me thus far," said Parker, who is hopeful of one day being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. "I was definitely surprised."
Beckley played seven seasons for the Reds from 1897-1903. His .325 average ranks third on the Reds' all-time list. He batted over .300 in six of his seven seasons with the club. His 77 triples as a Red rank third on the franchise's all-time list, and at the time of his retirement from baseball in 1907, his 244 overall career triples ranked first in all-time. Beckley died in 1918 from heart failure at the age of 50. He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
Induction ceremonies for all four players will be held this summer at Great American Ball Park on a weekend to be announced.